I was on a Facebook Live event recently, and one of the moderators posed the following question: “Who do you follow online, and give us a reason why you follow them.” I immediately thought of an answer, but it would be of such length that a Facebook comment wouldn’t be nearly enough space. It is much more suited to a blog post 😊

I follow people and groups in several categories – sports, politics, business, humor, and my newest interest, cooking. I can think of 3 main reasons why I follow who I follow.

Confirmation – or, shared beliefs. This is especially prevalent in politics. I’m a registered Libertarian, and thus I follow a ton of Libertarians online. I also follow a number of political conservatives that I don’t align with perfectly but I have some agreement with. Religion is another area where we tend to gravitate to people who believe like we do. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, although you can develop a high degree of intolerance of other views if you don’t allow yourself to experience them.

Information – a way to learn. I have started following some people and groups in the cooking arena so I can learn. Since my weight loss surgery in November 2017, I have a need to be able to prepare healthy meals for myself. A big reason why I got to where I was double my ideal weight was that I ate a lot of fast food, pizza delivery and meals that came with instructions on the back of the box. None of that is part of a healthy lifestyle unless it’s a special occasion. I’m always on the lookout for things I can make myself that fit the healthier eating that I need. I follow a lot of athletes and sports groups to keep up with the latest news of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA football and basketball. There’s a bit of the confirmation factor there also – there’s a lot of Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Indians, Charlotte 49ers and Auburn Tigers there, because those are my favorite teams. Following businesses or business people provide new information, especially entrepreneurs. There is tons of learning available online. It’s foolish to not take advantage of it.

Interaction – For people we refer to as “celebrities” – people who carry out the duties of their profession in front of a camera and/or microphone – the average person can’t just call them up and say, “hey, let’s do lunch.” The way we interact with them is online. Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook are avenues where they can speak out and others can respond. Besides sports, my other main hobby is comedy. Life is so serious, we need to have an outlet to cut up. I follow a number of comedians and other humor outlets so I can get a needed belly-laugh. If you are in dire need of a laugh, follow “You Had One Job” on Twitter. Your welcome.

There are many other reasons to follow people online, but these immediately jumped to mind. Who do you follow, and why do you follow them?